Amazing ImageryContests

BP Portrait Award

All My White by Olga Mest

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We love portraits here at Fine Art America, we’re not even going to lie. After all, wasn’t it Cicero that said, “ The countenance is the portrait of the soul, and the eyes mark its intentions”? We love the relationship that develops between artist and subject when portraits are painted or drawn. Whether the portrait is done in a Realism, Impressionism, Modernism or as an abstract, we are just enamored by what the subject and artist create.

It’s because we love portraits so much that we wanted to take a minute to talk about a portrait award. The BP portrait award is one of the highest honors a portrait artist can have. It has a history of finding some of the best portrait art in the world and putting it on display.

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History of the Award

In 1980, a tobacco company in Britain began offering a prize for the best judged portrait of an exhibition, which ran through the summer. Any artist was allowed to submit an entry, whether they had ever entered a contest or not, and whether they were a juried professional artist or an amateur. In 1989, British Petroleum (BP) took over sponsorship of the award, and although the company has received criticism for its sponsorship, as well as its role in environmental problems, most notably the Deepwater Horizon accident in 2010, the company has continued to sponsor the award, which has been called one of the most prestigious of art awards.

The deadline for submission is in December for the award to be presented in the summer each year. There is a small entrance fee, and the winning artist receives approximately $50,000 and a showing at the exhibition.

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Additional Details

Artists from all over the world petition to be included in the exhibition each year, but the panel of artists select 55 portraits to be displayed. In 2017, it was estimated that over 2500 portraits from over 70 countries were sent in to be judged, so the competition is fierce, to say the least. However, not only do winning artists get prize money and an exhibition of their portrait at the National Portrait Gallery in London, England, but they receive extensive publicity, which never hurts any artist who loves to make art — but doesn’t mind making a living either. Artists who have won this competition have seen their paintings sell for much more money after they have won an award of this magnitude.

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So, if you are an artist who loves to paint portraits, why not take a chance and look for the details of this contest? They should be out in the fall. What if you’re not an artist? Don’t worry, we have plenty of portraits you can have a look at for your home here, or you may find an artist you would love to commission to do a portrait for you. It never hurts to have a creator paint an image of you or your family for you to treasure for years to come.

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